As we've journeyed through the season with Tales of the Tape, I've heard a lot of feedback on different aspects of fighting. I've watched and commented on all the fights of this season and I've learned a lot from the Pensburgh community who never seem to be able to keep quiet on anything - which is a good thing. So when I found out about the proposed rule for giving a misconduct penalty for a 'staged fight', it shouldn't be surprising that I was not amused.
In a nutshell, this rule would make it a 10 minute penalty to fight right out of the faceoff, or have a staged fight, which is I'm assuming to be one where two guys agree beforehand to drop the gloves. I suppose the unplanned, unexpected type, as demonstrated by Sidney Crosby, would be cool, but none of the type that most of us who spend waaaaay too much time watching for it see.
I, of course, wasn't amused by this, but as it turns out, neither were the players. The five player members on the competition committee have been recommended to vote against it - which will not allow the seven of ten votes needed to pass a new rule. To make their point, a number of
goons 'tough guys' were brought in to make the point. And what goon squad enforcer representation would be complete without former Pen Georges Laraque?
"It would turn into a mockery anyway because I would turn to a guy and say, 'OK, we can't fight right now because of the rule, so we'll do six Mississippis and meet in the corner.' It's true, we would make a mockery out of it," said Laraque.
And therein lies the bigger problem with this rule. How do you enforce it? A 10 minute misconduct is a hefty penalty to dish out. Beyond the faceoff fights, what would count as a 'staged fight'? Couldn't the players argue that it was spur of the moment, rather than staged? Would we see a new era of secret nods and hand signals between players to signify the start of a fight? After the six Mississippis, of course.
I understand that fighting in hockey is a controversial topic, but this isn't going to fix it. All this will do is put a grace period between faceoffs and fights, and is that really worth the effort or the potential backlash from the group of players you definitely don't want to be meeting in a back alley?